The 100 Greatest Literary Characters

The 100 Greatest Literary Characters


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From Captain Ahab to Yuri Zhivago, discover the most remarkable characters in fiction.

Huckleberry Finn, Anna Karenina, Harry Potter, Hester Prynne . . . these are just a handful of remarkable characters found in literature, but of course the list is virtually endless! But why ponder which of these creations are the greatest? More than just a topic to debate with friends, the greatest characters from fiction help readers comprehend history, culture, politics, and even their own place in today’s world. Despite our reliance on television, film, and technology, it is literature’s great characters that create and reinforce popular culture, informing us again and again about society and ourselves.

In The 100 Greatest Literary Characters, James Plath, Gail Sinclair, and Kirk Curnutt identify the most significant figures in fiction published over the past several centuries. The characters profiled here represent a wide array of storytelling, and the authors explore the significance of the figures at the time they were created as well as their relevance today. Included in this volume are characters from literature produced around the world, such as Aladdin, James Bond, Holden Caulfield, Jay Gatsby, Hercule Poirot, Don Quixote, Lisbeth Salander, Ebenezer Scrooge, Jean Valjean, and John Yossarian.

Readers will find their beloved literary figures, learn about forgotten gems, or discover deserving choices pulled from history’s dustbin. Providing insights into how literature shapes and molds culture via these fabricated figures, The 100 Greatest Literary Characters will appeal to literature lovers around the globe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538103753
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 07/15/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 590,353
Product dimensions: 7.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

James Plath is R. Forrest Colwell Chair of English at Illinois Wesleyan University, and the author of six books, most recently John Updike’s Pennsylvania Interviews (2017).

Gail Sinclair is scholar-in-residence and executive director of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She is the coauthor of Key West Hemingway: A Reassessment (2009).

Kirk Curnutt is the chair and professor of English at Troy University in Troy, Alabama. He is the author or coauthor of 17 books, among them Understanding Gay Talese (2019) and William Faulkner (2017).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

Captain Ahab 1

Aladdin 3

Alex 5

Alice in Wonderland 8

Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom 10

Brett Ashley 13

George F. Babbitt 16

Frodo Baggins 18

Lily Bart 21

Big Brother 23

Mary Katherine Blackwood 26

Molly Bloom 28

James Bond 30

Philbert Bono 33

Emma Bovary 36

Jean Brodie 38

Aureliano Buendía 40

Nathaniel "Natty" Bumppo 43

Cacciato 46

Holden Caulfield 48

Celie 51

Charlotte 53

Benjy Compson 55

Don Vito Corleone 58

Janie Crawford 60

Clarissa Dalloway 63

Mr. Darcy 65

Pilate Dead 68

Rebecca de Winter 70

Dracula 73

Tess Durbeyfield 75

Tyler Durden 78

Katniss Everdeen 81

Jane Eyre 83

Atticus Finch 86

Huckleberry Finn 88

Henry Fleming 91

Frankenstein's Creature 93

Dorothy Gale 96

T. S. Garp 99

Jay Gatsby 101

Holly Golightly 103

Miss Havisham 106

Eugene Henderson 108

Sherlock Holmes 111

Humbert Humbert 113

Invisible Man 117

Henry Jekyll / Edward Hyde 120

Ma Joad 122

Anna Karenina 125

Mick Kelly 128

Kurtz 130

Josephine "Jo" March 133

Philip Marlowe 135

Jane Marple 138

Oskar Matzerath 141

Merlin 143

Meursault 146

The Misfit 148

Guy Montag 151

Dean Moriarty 153

Offred 156

Katherine Scarlett O'Hara 158

Orlando 161

Papa (The Man) 164

Peter Pan 166

Piggy 168

Billy Pilgrim 170

Fleur Pillager 173

Hercule Poirot 175

Edna Pontellier 179

Alexander Portnoy 181

Harry Potter 183

Hester Prynne 186

Quasimodo 189

Don Quixote 191

Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov 194

Ignatius J. Reilly 196

Reno 199

Lisbeth Salander 202

Santiago 204

Ebenezer Scrooge 207

Sethe 209

Tristram Shandy 212

Shane 214

Antonia Shimerda 217

Long John Silver 219

Lennie Small 221

Sonny 224

Julien Sorel 226

Willie Stark 228

Daenerys Targaryen 231

Tarzan 233

Oliver Twist 236

Jean Valjean 239

Oscar Wao 242

Carrie White 244

Winnie-the-Pooh 247

John Yossarian 250

Yuri Zhivago 253

Appendix: Top Ten Character List 257

Index 259

About the Authors 269

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